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Seven in 10 Australians support minimum wage rise: poll

Xinhua, April 17, 2017 Adjust font size:

Almost 70 percent of all Australians believe the government should raise the nation's minimum wage, including a majority of conservative, government voters, the results of a new poll showed on Monday.

Australia is currently under the leadership of a conservative Liberal-National Party (LNP) coalition government, led by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, but even right-leaning voters would like to see an increase in Australia's minimum wage, an Essential Research poll found.

The poll, commissioned by the nation's biggest union body, the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU), found that 69 percent of voters wanted a higher minimum wage, while a third (33 percent) of voters said it needed to be "much higher." Only 20 percent of voters said the minimum wage was "about right."

Currently, the minimum wage in Australia is 17.70 Australian dollars (13.45 U.S. dollars) per hour, but the ACTU wants it raised by 45 Australian dollars per week (34 U.S. dollars).

ACTU Secretary Sally McManus said while the government was currently focused on its business tax cuts plan, Australia's underpaid and struggling workers were continuing to suffer.

"(Prime Minister) Malcolm Turnbull has been listening to his corporate friends in the business lounge for too long. He won't support a real wage increase for low-paid workers, yet more people are working casual and part-time jobs and finding it harder to make ends meet," McManus told Fairfax Media on Monday.

"The ACTU's submission that we should increase the minimum wage by 45 Australian dollars (34 U.S. dollars) per week would not only boost family budgets, it would flow on to substantial growth across the whole economy."

Business bodies agree with the minimum wage increase, but not to the same extent; the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry has asked for a 1.2-percent increase of 8.10 Australian dollars per week (6.15 U.S. dollars) - below the inflation rate. Endit